Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Genre: Science Fiction
Approximate word count: 15,000-20,000 words
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Born in 1983, Ian Quin is a disabled American who lives in the Louisville metropolitan area. He is a graduate of Indiana University and is currently self-employed.
As a long-time fan of science fiction and horror stories, Ian tries to create the types of stories that he, himself, would like to read. The end result is always something very personal and meaningful to him, but hopefully also something that others can appreciate as well. Advancement of the Species is his debut novella. For more information, go to his website.
Earth’s inhabitants are being monitored by the Overseers. One of these all-powerful beings identifies Rodney as a person who may finally break the human race from its cycle of fighting and destruction.
Rodney is certainly an unlikely candidate to pick as the savior of Earth. He’s twenty-something, overweight, unemployed, and mentally challenged with ADD and Tourette syndrome. His father died a few months after Rodney’s eighteenth birthday, leaving Rodney in the care of his alcoholic mother.
Rodney’s dead-end life changes when he happens on a book of philosophy mysteriously placed on the shelf of the local grocery store.
The author of the book, Doctor Krokulf, telephones Rodney and invites him to meet at a designated place six hours drive from Rodney’s home. Rodney has never heard of the doctor, nor has he ever travelled that far from home, but he feels driven to follow through.
When he arrives at Vennskap Valley, he finds a secret society whose citizens live a seemingly Utopian lifestyle with advanced technology and a focus on human betterment through education. All of the citizens of the Valley are outcasts from society due to physical or mental handicaps. The story tells how Rodney copes with, and finally understands his role in this new society.
This is a fun, fast read. The writing style is simplistic and direct, which fits well with Rodney’s character. There’s no time to fill in details about how things can exist as they are portrayed, and really, there’s no need.
The Overseers pop in and out of the story with anecdotal references relating Rodney’s actions to other members of the animal kingdom.
And the story does have a twist in the tail.
Too few to mention.
Rating: **** Four stars